Instagram comedian Jess Hilarious is on the defense after allegedly getting four men in turbans booted off a flight Saturday for making her “nervous,” an action that has sparked outrage and allegations of racist stereotyping.
The social media star, born Jessica Moore, insists she isn’t racist. However, that hasn’t stopped critics from nailing her to the wall for perpetuating the same racism often used against Black Americans.
In a now-deleted tweet, Moore posted video from what ultimately led to four Sikh men being removed from a flight before it departed from the airport. The comic then took to Instagram to say that her “fear” was justified and that her “news is real.”
“N—–s know I’m never f—ing racist, but I spotted something and I put it out earlier and we just got evacuated from our plane. If I’m scared, I’m scared. F–k y’all,” Moore told followers on Instagram. “F–k how y’all feel. Y’all mad at me because I don’t side with every other Black person … ‘cuz I don’t side with every other race. F–k y’all. I felt how I felt. I felt threatened and that was it.”
Moore also posted a video of herself seemingly mocking the men as they deplaned, saying, “[gasp], where you going? Where are you going?”
The posts sparked immediate backlash from critics who slammed Moore for her blatant racism and Islamophobia. Her comments against the men, who were NOT Muslim, also came just days after a terrorist attack at two New Zealand mosques that left 50 people dead and several others injured. An Australian man with white supremacist ties was arrested and charged in the deadly massacre.
“It will never cease to amaze me how much marginalized people will happily wear the garments of white supremacy, as if the same fear-mongering racism isn’t used against you,” writer and Teach for America activist Brittany Packnett tweeted. “Islamophobia isn’t a look. On anyone. Not just white folks.”
“To say her actions and sharing on social media are an embarrassment and disgusting is an understatement,” Sirius XM radio host Danielle Moodie-Mills also tweeted. “Do you know how many black folks have been thrown off planes because of white folks feeling ‘uncomfortable’ GTFOH.
#JessHilarious should know better but sadly doesn’t.”
Another user challenged Moore to “keep that same energy when a cop says I saw a large black man and felt threatened so I shot him.” Meanwhile, a fellow critic compared Moore’s actions to white people who call the cops on Black folks for no good reason.
“A black woman has the audacity to stereotype brown men with turbans all while wearing a headscarf herself?,” another opined. “So can we stop acting like she’s funny and cancel her already.”
“Lol, Jess Hilarious prolly got mad them Sikh’s had a better wrap than her [and] they wasn’t covering up a fuckin nick bag of a ponytail like she got,” one man joked.
In a tweet, activist Aditi Juneja explained the purpose of the Sikh turban, writing that it is a way “to be publicly identified as in service to others” and not “something to be afraid of.”
“The idea is if you see someone in a turban, you’d know you could go up and ask for help,” Juneja added.
Moore took to Instagram again on Sunday to defend herself against the backlash and offered what for many was a lackluster apology.
“Look y’all, I’m not racist & never have I ever been …” she began. “We have Muslims in my family. However, I was totally unaware of the different types of Muslim. So yes, I admit I’m ignorant to the facts, so TEACH ME.”
Moore denied having the passengers removed from the plane, saying she never made the flight crew aware of her nervousness about the men being on board.
“Again, I’m sorry to all Muslims … deeply sorry. But I am not a racist loves.”
Watch more in the video below.
— s a r a (@sara_zfa) March 17, 2019